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by Roger Dickes
Academic Senate President
This past week, at the ASCCC Spring Plenary, the theme of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was the central focus of the program. I appreciated attending as President of GCC’s Senate, as I was able to represent a college that has been active in advancing DEI interests. When discussion items came up in breakout sessions and as the Plenary Resolutions were debated and voted on, I was comforted to think that my college and my colleagues are aligned with the broad axis of change on DEI, that we are in-step with the ASCCC’s position and not a step behind.
Taking inventory of Senate-related developments shows our college’s remarkable commitment. Here are some highlights of what’s been accomplished so far.
- The creation of a DEI Committee and its goals: I would like to take this opportunity to once again recognize the work of April Bey and Michael Davis, who envisioned and have spearheaded a faculty-led effort to recommend institutional change with respect to equity. I also appreciate Dr. Ritterbrown and Dr. Viar’s willingness to fund the work of the committee chair, April Bey. The DEI Committee is off to a powerful start, and the Senate looks forward to its input on such issues as students serving on hiring committees, diversity in hiring, the college’s web presence, and professional development.
- Curriculum &Instruction's Equity Guide: The Senate appreciates the work of the C&I Committee, led by Francien Rohrbacher, to build and share the Guide for Creating Equitable Curriculum. For instructors searching for ways implement equity considerations within their courses, the guide provides valuable information on practical steps to take.
- The adding of anti-racism-related goals to GCC's Institutional Master Plan: Laudable work was done by members of “Team B,” a subgroup of “Team A” (the Master Planning Committee), on revising the college’s Institutional Master Plan. Presently, the IMP is very much a restatement of Guided Pathways tenets and aims, yet it could be said to lack elements related to building and preserving a nurturing college climate for students, especially the disproportionately impacted ones. Team B and then Team A generated content that could be included within a new opening section of the IMP document – and now the IMP is with the DEI Committee. The Senate awaits DEI’s refinement of the work of Team A and B.
- Emphasis upon equity efforts in the IHAC (hiring allocations) manual: My last conversation with Andy Young was when I served on the IHAC manual revision task force. I fondly recall one of Andy’s contributions to the document, what the group called “The Young Constant” which reworked calculation of the FT/PT Ratio criterion. This task force made important edits to the IHAC document, the most relevant of them being to increase the evaluative weighting of equity efforts by programs. The Senate passed the new manual last semester and it will soon be deployed for the first time.
- Tilting toward equity-oriented, discipline-aware values in review of equivalencies to minimum qualifications: The Minimum Qualifications Subcommittee of the Senate, led by Mike Davis, First VP, consisting otherwise of Francien Rohrbacher, Piper Rooney, and myself reviews applications by potential full and part-time hires when their qualifications don’t precisely match those listed in GCC’s local minimum qualifications. This committee has in its deliberations on applications in question begun to take an expansive view regarding how an applicant’s work experience may be counted toward equivalency.
- The replacement of Credit by Exam with Credit for Prior Learning: A subject that will be covered in the upcoming Senate Electorate meeting, Credit for Prior Learning re-imagines what was once credit by exam. Though institutionalizing Credit for Prior Learning at GCC will take time and effort, it is intended to work as an equity lever, allowing for enhanced, more appropriate placement of students with prior credentials/coursework into sections, as well as local section credit and grades for successfully demonstrating prior learning.
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